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Introduction of Amendment in Senate to Eliminate Detention Bed Quota!

DWN Blog - September 28, 2015 - 12:24

We’re very excited to share that Senator Coons will be introducing an amendment to eliminate the detention bed quota–the first ever amendment in the Senate on this issue! Unfortunately, we have a tight timeline–until tomorrow morning–to convince other Senators to co-sponsor the amendment to show how many lawmakers agree that it’s long past time to remove this arbitrary and unjust quota from the DHS budget.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Call your Senators TODAY and ask them to support Senator Coons’ amendment to strike the bed quota language. Feel free to use these talking points (though you can find much more information here, here and here):

  • Detention operates on a quota system that strives to keep 34,000 immigrants imprisoned each day.
    • Congress requires ICE to maintain a daily quota of 34,000 detention beds and makes ICE’s funding contingent on doing so. No other law enforcement agency is forced to operate on a quota system.
    • The quota pushes ICE to find immigrants to detain and to continue operating facilities with subpar conditions and track records of abuse.
  • Detention is expensive – there is a human cost to our communities and a monetary cost to taxpayers.
    • Current detention policy–driven in large part by an arbitrarily-set quota–means that the families and communities of nearly half a million people are torn apart each year.
    • The most recent budget request for ICE’s Custody Operations is just over $2 billion. During a time of fiscal crisis, it is unacceptable to be spending billions of taxpayer dollars to needlessly detain immigrants. This is a complete waste of resources when other proven and effective methods—including parole, release under supervision, and bond— cost taxpayers far less than detention.
  • Private prison corporations lobby for policies like the bed quota which keep immigrants in detention.
    • Nearly 60% of detention beds are in facilities run by private prison corporations, which rake in profits from the incarceration of immigrants.

2. If they are willing to co-sponsor, they should get in touch with Dan Bachner (202-228-1993 and

For questions please contact:

Mary Small-

Office: 202-846-7058/Cell: 336-339-3918

Listen via @CMSNewYork: Reform of the US Immigrant Detention System

DWN Blog - September 18, 2015 - 10:51
Panel on Family Detention, Privatization, and Lessons from the Criminal Justice and National Security Debates: September 17, 2015

While the dramatic expansion of privately-run, family detention facilities has been the focus of the recent debate on the US immigrant detention system, there has been a far longer debate on the system’s overall viability. Most recently, a report by the Center for Migration Studies and Migration and Refugee Services of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops argued that the current system should be dismantled and entirely re-conceived.

This panel of diverse experts discussed the future of the US immigrant detention system, ideas for and barriers to reform, the system’s growing privatization, the experience of family detention in Texas, and cross-cutting issues and lessons from the criminal justice and national security field.

Donald Kerwin
Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies

Susan L. Burke
Attorney at Law, Burke PLLC

Mark Dow
Author, American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons

Judith Green
Justice Policy Analyst and Director, Justice Strategies

Michelle Mendez
Training and Legal Support Staff Attorney,
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)

DWN Call Flores Decision a Resounding Victory for Human Rights As Judge Rules Against Family Detention

DWN Blog - July 27, 2015 - 15:11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, 27 July 2015

Experts Call Flores Decision a Resounding Victory for Human Rights As Judge Rules Against Family Detention

Detention Watch Network Urges Obama Administration to Accept Decision

Statement from Mary Small, Policy Director of Detention Watch Network in response to Friday’s ruling that the Obama administration’s continued detention of refugee children and mothers is illegal:

“This long overdue decision is an encouraging victory for the rights of asylum-seeking women and children locked up in family detention centers. Friday’s ruling confirms what we have long known– that the Obama administration’s revival of family detention is a failed policy that is an appalling stain on the United States’ human rights record. We call on DHS to allow this decision to stand, release women and children immediately and close all family detention centers once and for all.

We also urge the administration to allow these children and their mothers to live with dignity while they apply for asylum. The use of unnecessary and dehumanizing GPS ankle monitors is unacceptable. ICE must direct resources instead to community support programs that do not further harm women and children.

It’s time for the Obama administration to concede to the growing demand to end family detention permanently and begin treating refugees with dignity and respect.”

#  # #

Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons.

Detention Watch Network Encouraged to See Families Released, But Concerned with Dehumanizing Alternatives Proposed

DWN Blog - July 14, 2015 - 14:10

For Immediate Release: July 14, 2015

Contact: Molly Haigh :

Detention Watch Network Encouraged to See Families Released,

But Concerned with Dehumanizing Alternatives Proposed

Statement from Silky Shah, Co-Director of the Detention Watch Network in response to yesterday’s announcement on family detention issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

“Under increasing pressure, the Obama administration is finally taking steps to limit the prolonged incarceration of mothers and children. The detention system is rife with human rights abuses, appalling medical care lapses, and glaring due process violations. By the government’s own measure, the vast majority of detained women and children should be treated as refugees and immediately released.

Instead, while ICE has finally acknowledged that they should not continue a blanket policy of detaining mothers and children who have a legitimate fear of returning to their countries of origin, ICE has simply replaced one blanket decision with another–this time to fit all mothers with unnecessary and dehumanizing ankle GPS monitoring devices.

In the limited number of cases where additional support is needed, ICE should focus instead on community support programs that do not further traumatize families. Rather than piling on multiple onerous conditions for release that will waste more taxpayer dollars.

The Obama administration’s family detention policy has been an embarrassing stain on America’s human rights record. Yesterday’s announcement signals a move away from mere rhetoric and toward actual release for some detained mothers and children, but even if implemented fully, fails to truly address the problem this administration created for itself last year.  It is time to close all family detention centers and end this painful chapter once and for all.”

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Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons.

#EndDetention Week of Action & New Voices from Detention

DWN Blog - July 7, 2015 - 15:16

NEW Voices from Detention

To kickoff the week of action to end immigrant detention, Detention Watch Network is releasing a new video in our Voices from Detention series.
Voices from Detention brings forward the voices of those most impacted by the unjust immigration detention system via audio phone recordings from people locked up inside detention centers.

Meet Lissett and Alexis – Listen to their story

Lissett Pineda and her 11-year-old son, Alexis, fled Honduras after learning about the death of one of Alexis’ close friends, emblematic of the escalating violence throughout the region. Lissett feared for her son’s life and was willing to do anything to protect him. She came to the United States seeking asylum and instead was met with bars at the Karnes Family Detention Center in Karnes City, Texas. It was there that Lissett and Alexis spent nine months locked up.

Lissett has been on the forefront of fighting for the liberation of all families in detention. She was a brave participant in the Karnes hunger strike and was placed in solitary confinement as a form of retaliation. Fortunately, since recording this Voices from Detention, Lissett and her son have been released. Thousands of mothers and children still remain in family detention centers just like Lissett and Alexis, as well as, the larger population of immigrant men who are unjustly and inhumanely detained every day in a system of over 200 detention centers across the country.

Support Lissett and Alexis by sharing their story on social media and by joining the growing demand to end immigrant detention!

Join an Action Near You & Tweet to #EndDetention

July 7 – Austin, TX –  7:00 pm – “Chant Down the Walls” Protest & Concert

Hosted by Grassroots Leadership, community members, social justice organizations, and faith organizations will have a protest/concert to show solidarity with people inside of the Travis County Jail.

For more information

July 8 – Chicago, IL – 11:30 am – Rally at ICE to End All Detention

Formerly detained members of Organized Communities Against Deportation (OCAD) will rally at 101 W. Congress in Chicago, IL.

For more information

July 9 – Adelanto, CA –  6:30 pm – Adelanto Detention Center Vigil

Join Justice for Immigrants Coalition at the Adelanto Detention Center to stand against the inhumane treatment in the facility and continue opposition to the 600 bed expansion that was implemented on July 1st.

For more information

July 9 – Atlanta, GA – Evening Bus Departs for New Orleans Protests

Members of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) will drive through the night to rally with the Congreso de Jornaleros at the DAPA hearing in New Orleans.

For more information

July 10 – New Orleans, LA – 8:30 am Rally & March from DAPA Hearing to ICE

Congreso de Jornaleros will rally at the hearing to lift the injunction on the relief program and march to the local ICE office to protest continued raids.

For more information

July 11 – Washington, DC – 10:00 am – Caravan to Shut Down Berks Concert

DC residents will meet at 1525 Newton St NW, Washington, DC 20010 to drive to the Berks detention center to join a rally and concert there.

For more information

July 11 – Leesport, PA – 2:00 pm – Shut Down Berks Concert

Juntos and supporters will rally at the family detention center located at 1040 Berks Rd, Leesport, PA for a concert and rally featuring the hip-hop artist Olmeca and others calling for the closing of the center.

For more information

July 11 – Tacoma, WA – 12:00 pm – Defend Your Rights Workshop 

Information and stories of those who fought the detention system and won, and those that continue fighting outside of the NW Detention Center.

For more information

* Hosting an Action or Vigil? Add your event online at: *